The tragic case of five year old Mason Jones, who died following the Welsh outbreak of E.coli O157 in September 2005 shows how devastating this infection can be. Over 150 people were infected, most of them children, with 31 being hospitalised.
It usually takes millions of food poisoning bacteria to cause harm. However, it takes only a few E.coli O157 bacteria to cause a potentially fatal infection.
E.coli O157 has been found in raw meat, unpasteurised milk, vegetables, salads and sprouted seeds.
It can be controlled and prevented by basic hygiene rules:
- Keeping raw and ready to eat foods separate, from delivery and storage, through preparation and cooking, to service
- Proper cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces, equipment and utensils that could spread bacteria and scrupulous personal hygiene at all times
Controlling the risk of cross contamination is an important part of your routine food safety inspection. The inspecting officer will discuss this with you during the visit and the advice they give you can not only help reduce the risk of spreading E.coli O157, but other bacteria such as campylobacter and salmonella.
Maintaining high standards of hygiene also helps you achieve a higher food hygiene rating.
The Food Standards Agency have produced specific guidance for controlling cross contamination of E.coli O157. Please visit Food Standards Agency Information on E.coli O157 for more information.